Slam Dunk Festival 2018

Two weeks ago, I went to the south part of Slum Dunk festival which is a touring three-day rock festival starting in Leeds (Slam Dunk North), moving to Hartfield (Slam Dunk South) and ending in Birmingham (Slam Dunk Midlands). Established in 2006 as one day indoor event with a small stage and only a handful of artists, the event now attracts many well-known artists who play across seven stages. Usually, the festival is held on the May Bank Holiday of each year presenting a line-up of both up-and-coming artists as well as more established bands, based around the punk, emo and metal music scene.

This year, on the Fireball Stage artists such as Templeton Pek, Guttermouth, King Prawn, Save Ferris, Capdown, Zebrahead, The Skints, Goldfinger, and Reel Big Fish had the chance to present themselves. The Impericon Stage line-up included Loathe, Brutality Will Prevail, Astroid Boys, The Devil Wears Prada, Counterparts, Comeback Kid, Crown The Empire, Northlane, and Every Time I Die. On the Jaegermeister Stage Knuckle Puck, Four Year Strong, Creeper, State Champs, Sleeping With Sirens, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, PVRIS, and Good Charlotte were featured. The Monster Energy Stage presented The Dangerous Summer, The Audition, Say Anything, Twin Atlantic, Moose Blood, Lower Than Atlantis, Taking Back Sunday, and Jimmy Eat World. On the Rock Sound Break Through Stage bands such as Codename Colin, Holding Absence, Dream State, The Faim, Milestones, Chapel, Grayscale, Stand Atlantic, Sleep On It, and Palaye Royale were presented. For the Signature Brew Stage bands such as Woes, Can’t Swim, Homesafe, Broadside, Roam, Trash Boat, He Vs Hero, and As It Is were confirmed. The Key Club Acoustic stage hosted bands such as Cavetown, Selfish Things, PVMNTS, Luke Rainsford, Rob Lynch, Four Year Strong, and Speak Low If You Speak Love.


I decided to start off with the American pop-punk band Knuckle Puck from Chicago before I headed over to the Rock Sound Breakthrough Stage to see the British emotive hardcore band Holding Absence from Cardiff, and the alt-rock quintet Dream State from South Wales. I really enjoyed both performances as not only the musical performance was on point but also the audience showed a lot of energy and engaged in the performance.

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Knuckle Puck


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Holding Absence


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Holding Absence


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Holding Absence


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Dream State


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Dream State


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Dream State


After a quick break I went to the Impericon Stage to see the rest of the American hardcore band The Devil Wears Prada before I saw the Canadian hardcore punk band Counterparts.

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The Devil Wears Prada


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With the end of their set I moved again to the Jaegermeister Stage to see the American post-hardcore band Sleeping With Sirens. They played a mix of some of their older songs and many new songs which was well received by the audience. They seemed to have a lot of fun on stage which transferred to the audience who screamed all the lyrics back to the band.

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Sleeping With Sirens


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Sleeping With Sirens


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Sleeping With Sirens


Following Sleeping With Sirens, I stayed at the stage to see the British rock band Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. It was their first time playing and visiting the Slum Dunk Festival but they made sure, it was a memorable first time. Even though, they managed to get the biggest circle pit in front of the stage, loads of crowd surfers and joined the fans themselves, they always looked after their fans’ safety and encouraged a respectful social interaction.

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Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes


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Frank Carter


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The Rattlesnakes


Unfortunately, as I wanted to see the American rock band Crown The Empire who played at the same time as Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, I had to split the sets but stayed a bit longer at Frank Carters set. Crown The Empire played on the Impericon Stage right before the Australian post-hardcore quintet Northlane. Together with Holding Absence, Dream State and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, they were my personal highlight of the festival day 🙂 Northlane played a good mix of their older and newer songs which was appreciated by both new and old fans. Their musical performance was on top, and the energy and motivation they put into their set thrilled the fans who screamed all the lyrics back to the stage, jumped around in circle pits, and showed many crowd surfers.

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Crown The Empire


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Right after Northlane, I stayed a bit longer to see the American metal band Every Time I Die from New York who played at the same time as Good Charlotte and Jimmy Eat World. Before I left the festival ground I passed again the Jaegermeister Stage who hosted the American punk band Good Charlotte. Their set finished a bit later than Every Time I Die’s and I just arrived when they played ‘The River’ one of their better known and older songs. A great finish for an amazing day.

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Good Charlotte


Luckily, the weather was very nice as the venue in the Hatfield Park had many open air stages. Nonetheless, some of the stages were located in tents which was good for both hiding from the heat and the rain. However, most of the day was sunny and warm with a light rainfall during Sleeping With Siren’s and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes’ set which was a welcome refreshment.

The organisation of the festival itself seemed to be very well and thought through. There haven’t been too many or too long queues (except the toilets), and the location was very easy to find and reach. However, trying to get to the festival in the beginning was difficult as some of the trains were cancelled which caused many delays and over crowded coaches. On the way back home in the evening there were free coaches available between the trains which helped to move the crowd and to avoid too long queues. Furthermore, the festival offered a broad variety of culinary offers including vegan and vegetarian food stalls, fries, mac’n cheese, burgers, or other fast foods. There was a lot of helpful staff and security personnel which created a secure and care taking atmosphere. The audience itself was well behaved, looked out for each other, and seemed to have a great time.

Hence, it was a special time with great bands, good music, nice weather and a happy audience.




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